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Bees & Pesticides: Commission goes ahead with plan to better protect bees

The European Commission has adopted a proposal (Regulation (EU) No 485/2013 PDF) to restrict the use of 3 pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoids family (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for a period of 2 years. An Appeal Committee vote on 29 April 2013 returned an inconclusive opinion where: 15 Member States supported the proposal, 4 abstained and 8 voted against. Since no qualified majority was reached, procedurally, the responsibility on deciding whether to adopt the proposal was with the Commission.

The Commission's action is a response to the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) scientific report which identified "high acute risks" for bees as regards exposure to dust in several crops such as maize, cereals and sunflower, to residue in pollen and nectar in crops like oilseed rape and sunflower and to guttation in maize.

Previously the proposal failed to reach qualified majority at the expert's meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 15 March.

In absence of an agreement between Member States, the Commission decided on the adoption of the proposed restriction.

Main elements of the Commission's proposal to Member States:

  1. The proposal restricts the use of 3 neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on bee attractive plants and cereals.
  2. In addition, the remaining authorised uses are available only to professionals.
  3. Exceptions will be limited to the possibility to treat bee-attractive crops in greenhouses, in open-air fields only after flowering.
  4. The restrictions will apply from 1 December 2013.
  5. As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within 2 years, the Commission will review the conditions of approval of the 3 neonicotinoids to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments.

Related information: EFSA page on Bee Health

 
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